Widow Issues Safety Plea Following Successful Trial Outcome
A widow has spoken of her relief after lawyers took a major step forward in securing justice regarding her husband’s death from asbestos-related cancer.
Bernard Jackman, of Huddersfield, died aged 76 from mesothelioma, a terminal form of cancer linked to exposure to asbestos, often decades previously with exposure to asbestos materials.
Following his death, his widow instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he developed the illness. She revealed how Bernard believed his asbestos exposure took place while he was employed by labouring company Harold Firth during the 1960s and early 1970s. During part of his time employed by Harold Firth he was based at the ICI plant in Huddersfield cleaning asbestos-lagged pipework.
Irwin Mitchell went on to launch legal action against Harold Firth but the case went to a trial after liability was denied on the basis that the company didn’t believe Bernard had been exposed to asbestos during his employment. Sadly, as also he died prior to lawyers being instructed, a witness statement was never taken from him.
However, the experts at Irwin Mitchell were able to use witness statements from historic claims against the company to prove Bernard’s exposure to asbestos and judgment was handed down in his widow’s favour.
Expert Opinion“Bernard’s death continues to have a devastating impact on all the extended family.
Their efforts to try and start coming to terms with what happened have been hampered by the lack of answers regarding how Bernard was exposed to the asbestos that claimed his life.
While nothing can make up for their loss we were determined to support the family and provide them with the answers they deserved.
Bernard’s death is yet another reminder of the terrible legacy that asbestos has created. While the use of asbestos is now outlawed it is still found in many building and workplaces. Therefore it’s vital the employers ensure the highest health and safety standards are upheld at all times to protect workers.”
Lucy Andrews - Associate Solicitor
Bernard’s widow said that her husband wore overalls while working at ICI and he would often shake the dust and dirt off when he got home. She did not remember much about the nature of the work, but Bernard then gave her more information after his diagnosis.
She said: “After we got the news, he was adamant that exposure would have happened during the period he was employed by Harold Firth. He said that the work involved cleaning pipes and he believed that asbestos had been in them. It was the only job where he felt that he could have encountered asbestos.
“It was awful to see how mesothelioma affected Bernard and he lost a huge amount of weight. It’s still hard to believe he’s no longer here and I miss him every day.
“While nothing will change what’s happened, the news of this successful trial is welcome. It is an important step towards getting justice in Bernard’s memory, as it’s hard to take that his illness was caused by his work.
“I hope that employers will recognise the importance of protecting workers from asbestos and always ensure that safety comes first.”
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